Google is bringing mashups behind the enterprise firewall and into the browser. What that means, among other things, is that Google Earth Enterprise users will be able to see data rendered on Google Earth within a browser environment rather than having the Earth client on their individual desktops.
Here’s the Google Blog post.
According to the Google release:
Through a special version of the Google Maps API (the programming interface for Google Maps) , administrators can also embed this 2D view into any web application (much like a Google Map) and create mashups with information from external databases, spreadsheets and other data sources.
Browser view lets anyone in the organization securely access Google Earth Enterprise through a browser. In addition, organizations can embed a map view with proprietary data into any web-based application. (A real estate firm, for example, can now publish 2D images of all properties in a given area and overlay those images with a spreadsheet’s pricing data or availability notes — all on the firm’s website.)
Enhanced search framework allows integration with multiple search services through Java plug-ins, including the Google Search Appliance.
(A manufacturer might use this feature to find a set of customers with certain product preferences using the Google Search Appliance, and view the geographic distribution of those customers in Google Earth.)
Regions-based KML imagery data processing tool for creating super-overlays. These overlays enable organizations to easily publish large collections of images. (A government agency would be able to publish local aerial photography to citizens.) Faster data processing and serving performance produces time savings of up to 10x for vector processing (points/lines/polygons) and computational savings of more than 2x for server responses to imagery data requests.
Industry standard security methodologies are supported for easier implementation of LDAP and SSL.
User interface improvements make the process of ingesting, previewing and publishing data easier and more efficient.
Here are some case studies and example implementations.
On the consumer side, Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D is available in the browser (after download of a plug-in). This raises the issue of whether Google is going to further integrate Maps and Earth within a browser environment for non-enterprise users. The platform that Google is using for both applications is essentially integrated and Google has been serving KML files in Maps for awhile.